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Not a Happy Home for Retiring Jordan

April 15, 2003|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The sting of losing, punctuated by some harsh words from the coach, overshadowed everything at Michael Jordan's final home game.

Jordan received a U.S. flag from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and had some computers donated to public schools in his name, but Coach Doug Collins ripped Jordan's Washington Wizard teammates following Monday's 93-79 loss to the New York Knicks.

"I've had guys curse at me in the locker room this year, show no respect," Collins said. "It was insidious."

Collins paid tribute to Jordan for stepping in when other players showed disrespect.

"It won't happen next year. Trust me. I treat people with dignity. I expect the same thing in return," Collins said.

Jordan, who blasted his teammates' work ethic several times this season, supported Collins. He will get a chance to do something about it if he returns to the Wizards' front office after the season.

"It's definitely a concern," Jordan said. "It's a thing we have to address."

Jordan had other reasons to be upset. His playing career is ending with a five-game home losing streak, and the Wizards, who finish their season Wednesday night at Philadelphia, will end up at least six games under .500.

The night started when Rumsfeld, who received an ovation, presented Jordan with a flag that flew over the Pentagon on the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Jordan received a mild pre-game ovation when the starting lineups were announced, then had 21 points. As Jordan left the game, however, the MCI Center crowd rose and cheered and chanted for 2 minutes 45 seconds.

The Wizards also presented a video tribute at halftime.

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